Naperville and Grand Junction Win Heart Safe Communities Award at Fire-Rescue Med

Henderson, Nev. – At Fire-Rescue Med, the IAFC's EMS Section honored two fire departments with the annual Heart Safe Community Award. The award recognizes organizations with creative approaches to implementing and maintaining systems to prevent and treat cardiac-related diseases within their communities.

The Naperville (IL) Fire Department was awarded top honors in the large community category (population of 100,000+) and the Grand Junction (CO) Fire Department took home first place in the small/mid-sized community category (population under 100,000).

The Heart Safe Community Award, sponsored by Physio-Control, examines communities holistically and how they've integrated their systems to work symbiotically. Agencies must demonstrate improved quality of out-of-hospital resuscitation through bystander CPR, AED deployment (PAD programs), out-of-hospital 12-lead ECGs, 12-lead ECG advanced notification to the receiving hospital or other continuous quality resuscitation improvements.

"The Heart Safe Community awards recognize the Naperville Fire Department and the Grand Junction Fire Department for their dedication and work to promote a better and safer community," said Chief David Becker, chair of the IAFC EMS Section. "They demonstrate and serve as a role model for other communities to follow in protecting their citizens through their programs."

Naperville: Active Bystanders and AED Placement Save Lives

For more than 7 years, the Naperville Fire Department (NFD) has implemented an aggressive campaign to train community members in hands-only CPR. The NFD has trained more than 4,200 residents so far and enrolled nearly 1,500 individuals in their PulsePoint program to be notified of nearby cardiac arrests.

Additionally, the NFD implemented a unique program to place “Code Blue Stations” throughout the city. These stations are direct call boxes where bystanders can report a cardiac arrest, directly speak with dispatchers, and access an AED within the call box which is unlocked by dispatchers. The placement of these AEDs in high-traffic areas of the community will allow faster access for individuals experiencing cardiac arrest and other cardiac emergencies.

Education and Pre-Planning Save Lives in Grand Junction

The Grand Junction Fire Department (GJFD) is continuing to implement a campaign to teach members of the public about hands-only CPR. Since 2016 alone, Grand Junction has delivered this education to more than 3,500 individuals at local high schools, businesses, and community events. Grand Junction believes that spreading this information and training will allow people in cardiac arrest to receive CPR much sooner and increase their chances of survival.

The GJFD also made internal changes to improve their responses to cardiac arrest patients. After implementing a “pit crew” style of response to cardiac arrests where all GJFD responders have a predetermined role, the GJFD worked to ensure all fire and EMS units had the latest 12-lead technology. The GJFD also provided more than 250 hours of cardiac-related training to their personnel and improve their abilities to provide advance notification to receiving hospitals of cardiac arrest patients.

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more
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